MUMBAI: If there are two venues in India where you would not want to lose the toss and defend a target in an IPL or T20 match, they’re the Wankhede Stadium here and Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. That holds true even if you possess a bowling line-up with as much variety and skill as defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) do.
The former’s reputation of being a graveyard for teams defending a score in cricket’s bikini format came to the fore as Mumbai Indians (MI) beat SRH by four wickets and eight balls to spare in match 10 of IPL 2017 and end a run of five unbeaten matches (including three last year) for SRH.
Mumbai were chasing a modest 159 thanks to senior pro Harbhajan Singh (4-0-23-2), who dished out a virtuoso bowling performance to get rid of SRH skipper David Warner 49 (34 balls, 7×4, 2×6) and Deepak Hooda, to restrict the Hyderabad franchise to 158-8. Harbhajan was well aided by the death-bowling skills of Jasprit Bumrah (4-0-24-3) and Lasith Malinga (4-0-30-1) as the Oranje Army couldn’t break free.
Smallish targets can get tricky if chasing teams display lack of intent. Parthiv Patel showed none of those traits as he belted an enterprising 39 (24 balls, 7×4) with smart dabs to third man for fours and elegant clips to the mid-wicket fence. However, Patel was guilty of throwing it away when he seemed set for a bigger contribution as he needlessly chipped part-timer Deepak Hooda to Bhuvaneshwar Kumar at long-on when he could have killed the game by batting longer.
SRH were banking on last-year’s star, Bangladesh left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman, to make early inroads. The man called ‘Fizz’ lacked any of it as his first over after landing in Mumbai from Dhaka went for 19. Rahman had made it to the XI in place of an unwell Moises Henriques. The other bowling star, Rashid Khan, the 18-year-old leggie from Afghanistan, impressed again on a dew-laden outfield. He dismissed MI skipper Rohit Sharma with a classic googly for just 4 to prolong Rohit’s barren run.
Rohit’s meagre returns have not affected MI much because in Nitish Rana they have found a young batsman with spunk and skill. After an impressive outing on Sunday in the win over KKR, Rana delivered again scoring a polished 45 (36 balls, 3×4, 2×6). Krunal Pandya applied the finishing touches with an entertaining 37 (20 balls, 3×4, 3×6).
Earlier, Warner 49 (34 balls, 7×4, 2×6) and Shikhar Dhawan 48 (43 balls, 5×4, 1×6) added 81 for the opening wicket but the latter’s lack of urgency in the powerplay robbed SRH of early momentum.
Dhawan failed to profit from a dropped chance by Krunal at 21 and struggled to pierce the field early on. The responsibility to inject energy into the innings fell on Warner and the skipper did his best upper cutting Hardik Pandya for six over third man and reverse hitting Harbhajan over fine-leg for another maximum.
A repeat against Harbhajan off the next delivery though saw the back of him. The offie slowed it down significantly and the resulting top-edge looked to be landing short off Bumrah at short fine-leg, but Parthiv Patel metamorphosed into superman to pouch the chance diving full length.
Dhawan, Hooda and Yuvraj departed in quick succession and had it not been for Ben Cutting, who stroked an entertaining 20 off 10 balls, Hyderabad would have struggled to get past 150.
UMPIRES GOOF UP AGAIN!
Umpire CK Nandan has been in the thick of things in this IPL, more than anyone else. After erroneously ruling Jos Buttler and Rohit Sharma out lbw in the game between Mumbai Indians and KKR at the Wankhede on Sunday, he made another gaffe on Wednesday. The last ball of the sixth over was hit to the third man boundary by David Warner off Jasprit Bumrah. That should have ensured that Warner’s opening partner Shikhar Dhawan was on strike off the next over. However, it was Warner who faced McClenaghan in the start of the 7th over. One wonders why third umpire Y Barde or match referee M Nayyar could not have corrected Nanadan.